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 Infusing learning with creativity. 
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I just finished reading Hard Times and am struck by the lessons that the characters have learned along the way. Each character drilled in fact at the beginning of the story seemed to learn that life is about more than fact and that to live a life without passion, compassion, and love of anything is no life at all. It is misery. It doesn't matter what you are passionate about or what you dream about, so long as you do it. When I started teaching I was very idealistic. I was going to change the world one child at a time. You know, make a difference. Each year I teach, it becomes a little bit harder to hang on to that dream. Each year, the bureacrats shove more and more junk down our throats that we are forced to swallow all in the name of progress. I submit to you that one of the biggest factors influencing the decline of the United States as a power stems from the changes that have occured in education. These changes have not necessarily been for the best.

Still there are things that we as teachers can do to offset this "crisis" we face. My example....I have been asked to use the Science and Social Studies text book to support our reading teacher in teaching/practicing the use of reading skills and test taking strategies with our students (nothing but the facts, right?) How do you do this without boring yourself and the students to tears? Infuse it with a little dramatization. Make a fool of yourself with big gestures and funny voices. My sixth grades seemed to love it.
So here's the questions all of this makes me ask.....As a teacher, what are you doing right in your classroom despite all of the programs and testing to be endured?

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Tara Gilleland


Sat Sep 26, 2009 12:23 pm
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I agree with what you wrote Tara. It is nothing but program after program. Fortunately, my principal, doesn't make us do every program that has come down the line. Science is such a hands on class where kids can learn so much more when they learn through inquiry, rather than reading about it or watching it, they must experience to draw their own conclusions. Something that I have started using in the past couple of weeks is the Kids World Almanac. Every page is a math lesson waiting to happen and the kids love it because it is such a high interest book. I hope to get a class set of my own and make it my math book.


Tue Sep 29, 2009 8:51 pm
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I completely relate. We have way too many programs in place right now at my school. One that requires the teacher to follow a script. Not only are we not allowing for creative freedom with our students but there is no creative freedom with lesson planning. Last year, I spent the time doing all the test taking strategies and drill and killing all the tested information. This year, I am taking the curricullum really slow. I am trying to make sure they master what I teach instead of speeding through everything. I am trying to make the information relevant to them so hopefully they will want to learn it. There comes a time when I think you just have to close your classroom door and do what you know is best for the kids.

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Samantha Harris


Sun Oct 11, 2009 6:58 am
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Sam, I agree. We are doing coverage of too many topics and not considering that depth may be more meaningful and that also student relevancy and making connections may make learning more beneficial.

Also, Sam our school system is now considering Corrective Reading; one minor reason I left our school. This program is even advertised as being effective because of it's ease with a teacher-directed script. This disgusts me and says that all kids are the same and learn the same way.

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Erika M. Nelson


Sun Oct 11, 2009 8:44 am
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We too have so many programs going on that it is often hard to keep up. However, I am slowing some of my lessons down to make sure that my kids fully grasp the concept before I move on. So many times, we feel pressured to follow our pacing guides exactally that we forget that we have to do what is best for our students instead of what the county says we must teach each day. Since, I have slowed down and quit worrying about the pacing guide, my students assessment grades have improved but most importantly, their confidence level has improved as well.


Sun Oct 11, 2009 12:12 pm
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